Latest Brain Initiative Funding
NIMH Director Named
Art and Neuroscience Meet
Biostatistician Help Now Available
In this August Clinical and Translational Neuroscience newsletter, we update you on several interesting neuroscience events and funding opportunities. Please visit the CTN section of the IHSI website for the latest neuroscience news and grant opportunities.
And as always, if you have an item to share with the neuroscience community at Illinois, we would love to include it here. Just email Gillian Cooke, IHSI research development specialist.
BRAIN Initiative Opportunity | JUST ANNOUNCED
The latest award from the BRAIN Initiative has just been announced; an R01 program focused on the Development and Validation of Novel Tools to Analyze Cell-Specific and Circuit-Specific Processes in the Brain. This award seeks applications that will develop and validate novel tools to facilitate the detailed analysis of complex circuits and provide insights into cellular interactions that underlie brain function. The new tools and technologies should inform and/or exploit cell-type and/or circuit-level specificity. Plans for validating the utility of the tool or technology will be an essential feature of a successful application.
The development of new genetic and non-genetic tools for delivering genes, proteins, and chemicals to cells of interest or approaches that are expected to target specific cell types and/or circuits in the nervous system with greater precision and sensitivity than currently established methods are encouraged. Tools that can be used in a number of species/model organisms rather than those restricted to a single species are highly desired. Applications that provide approaches that break through existing technical barriers to substantially improve current capabilities are highly encouraged.
The letter of intent is due October 2, 2016, with full applications due November 2, 2016. You can read more here.
Biobehavioral and Technological Interventions to Attenuate Cognitive Decline | NIH
The National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) was signed into law in 2011; this was followed by the development of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease (National Plan). A goal of the National Plan is to expand clinical trials on pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic approaches to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and manage and treat its symptoms, including conducting clinical trials to test the effectiveness of lifestyle interventions and risk factor reductions. While there are numerous ongoing efforts focused on pharmacological agents for treating or preventing dementia, non-pharmacological approaches, including biobehavioral and technology-based interventions, have received less overall attention.
The goal of this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is to stimulate clinical research to 1) develop and test biobehavioral or technological interventions designed to attenuate cognitive decline in individuals with Alzheimer’s or other dementias (e.g., Lewy body dementia, vascular dementia), mild cognitive impairment (MCI), or disease- or age-related cognitive decline, 2) inform the development of such interventions, and 3) elucidate the underlying mechanisms and biomarkers associated with response to interventions. Intervention strategies include those that restore or enhance cognitive functioning, prevent or delay the progression of cognitive impairment, or enable individuals to compensate for, or “work around” their cognitive deficits. This FOA is particularly interested in interventions that can be delivered in community settings by individuals, caregivers, or others in the community.
Full proposal deadline is October 5, 2016 for the R01 and October 16, 2016 for the R21.
Biomedical Engineering Program | NSF FUNDING
The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently announced a program in Biomedical Engineering that is hoped to integrate engineering and life sciences in solving biomedical problems. Projects should include methods, models, and enabling tools of understanding and controlling living systems; fundamental improvements in deriving information from cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems; new approaches to the design of structures and materials for eventual medical use in the long-term; and novel methods for reducing health care costs through new technologies. Of particular interest to the BME program is fundamental and transformative research in the following themes:
- Molecular, cellular, and tissue approaches for advanced biomanufacturing: three-dimensional structures of biomolecules, cells, scaffolds/matrices by bioprinting or other technologies for fundamental studies on cells, disease modeling and drug testing, and for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine applications; fundamental studies of cell-cell, cell-matrix interactions, self-assembly; systems integration between biological components and electromechanical assemblies; cellular biomanufacturing, including stem cell engineering and reprogramming technologies, and cellular immunotherapies.
- Neural engineering and brain mapping: technologies and tools to interrogate and monitor neuron activity at the molecular, cellular and neural network levels; new experimental methodologies and computational approaches to investigate brain structure and function, especially at the sub-cellular, cellular, and tissue levels, and to understand the interactions of the neural component of the brain with proximal and distant tissues; and to repair and renew deteriorated, damaged, or diseased neurons and neural circuits, especially of the central nervous system.
Innovative proposals outside of these specific interest areas may be considered. However, prior to submission, it is strongly recommended that the PI contacts the Program Director to avoid the possibility of the proposal being returned without review.
The duration of unsolicited awards is generally one to three years. The typical award size for the program is around $100,000 per year with allowance for up to $200,000 per year for collaborative projects or those involving multiple investigators.
Click here for more information from the NSF.
NIMH Names New Director
Joshua Gordon, MD, PhD, has been named director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), after Tom Insel stepped down late last year. Gordon, who has been described as a “visionary psychiatrist and neuroscientist” will take over the role in September 2016. With a background in basic neuroscience research that seeks to comprehend how the brain does and doesn’t work, Gordon is also an experienced psychiatrist, who has worked with many areas of psychiatric disease, including anxiety and depression.
In an interview with US News and World Report, Gordon talks about what excites him in neuroscience today, including “the ability to manipulate certain networks in the brain,” and how this relates to potential treatments for psychiatric disorders.
Read more about Dr. Gordon’s new vision for NIMH here.
Art and Neuroscience Meet
During the recent Federation of European Neuroscience Societies meeting, a call for neuroscience-related pieces of art was launched by Art of Neuroscience, an organization born at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience as a competition to harvest and curate inspiring images and videos from neuroscience labs. The goal is two-fold: to make the research from neuroscience labs more tangible and share something of high aesthetic value, while at the same time challenging scientists to evaluate their own work from a different perspective.
The call received over 120 submissions, spanning six continents and 21 different countries, including the winning work from Suzanne Dikker and Matthias Oostrik. “The Mutual Wave Machine” is a series of art installations and neuroscience experiments that embody the elusive notion of ‘being on the same wavelength’ with another person through brainwave synchronization. The goal is to engage audience members not only by providing an immersive aesthetic experience, but also by involving them directly in the scientific process. The audience participates as viewers and experimental subjects at once. The authors believe that such first-hand experience with the scientific process helps the public better understand and reflect on science as it is presented to them in popular media.
View photos and read more about the Art of Neuroscience at the PLOS Neuro Community blog.
Biostatistician Help Now Available
In response to the needs of investigators at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and local clinical partners, IHSI is offering high-quality biostatistical consulting and analysis services in support of biomedical, clinical, and health research. Our biostatisticians focus on applications in clinical trials, clinical studies, and translational research studies. The team is comprised of experienced, PhD-level biostatisticians who provide clinicians and investigators with services that are specifically tailored to their needs.
Visit the IHSI website for details on cost and availability, and to submit an interest form.
IMPORTANT DATES AND DEADLINES
- NeuroNex Letter of Intent: September 2, 2016
- PIRE preliminary proposal: September 14, 2016
- BRAIN Initiative Letter of Intent: October 2, 2016
- Cognitive Decline Deadline: October 5 (R01); October 16 (R21), 2016
- Biomedical Engineering: October 20, 2016
- Neural Regulation of Cancer: October 26, 2016
Email Gillian Cooke, IHSI research development specialist, with a calendar item or announcement to share with the clinical and translational neuroscience community at Illinois.